To Go Or Not To Go…Now?

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In my last blog, I left you saying that God had different plans for me than what I was expecting. I thought I would graduate with my A.A.S. in December of 2007 and attend Gallaudet in the Spring of 2008. However, by God’s wonderful plan and design, my plans changed.It was the spring of 2007, only one week before classes began. I was at church talking to the department chair of the sign language interpreting program at TJC, Dr. JB, about the upcoming semester. She suddenly, out of the blue, suggested that if I did practicum this semester, then, in the spring, then I could graduate this May. For some reason, that actually sounded like a good idea.

Now, I had know for over a year when I would do practicum and when I would graduate from TJC. I had everything planned out. I had decided to do practicum in the fall of ‘07 and graduate in December. I was surprised that I was even CONSIDERING what Dr. JB was saying. Completely change the plans I had for over a year and only one week before school? That would be crazy, right? However, because of the WAY she said it, it held a sort of ring to it and I actually told her I would think about it. Well, I did think about it….for a day and a half. She talked to me on Sunday, one week before school started; I decided on Monday to go ahead and graduate in May and possibly attend Gally in the fall.

To be able to graduate in May, I would have to take practicum while holding down three jobs and along with four other classes (which was against everything Dr. JB and the other teachers and interpreters suggested on normal occasion. They always encouraged us to take practicum separately without any other classes). The only reason I was even considering adding another class to my already full schedule (I had already enrolled in Interpreting 3, Sign to Voice, Intro to Psychology, Speech, and was auditing ASL 4 because I loved the class so much) was because I thought I might have the possibility of applying at Gallaudet.

So that Monday, I checked Gallaudet’s website for the deadline for their applications–one week to the day. It was due the day before school on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. I still felt pretty confident and daring, so I printed off the application and promised myself that if I finished it before the deadline, I would take practicum in the spring and go to Gally in the fall.

To my surprise, I had the application and all the other forms filled out by Wednesday. However, I noticed that I had to write three (3) entrance exam essays. Now, that would be a feat in and of itself (I used to take at least five to seven days to write ONE essay). But, I stayed optimistic and didn’t pressure myself, promising that if I could write three essays in three days, I would enroll in practicum and apply to Gally. I wrote and wrote and wrote for three straight days. I finished the essays to my utter amazement (there’s no way I could have done that on my own; God must’ve done something). I let my mom look over them for any mistakes I may have made. I asked her for her honest opinion of the essays, and she told me that those three papers were the worst I had ever written. I heartily agreed with her. But they were written, and I kept my promise to continue the application process.

I noticed that the application required that I have two people recommend me to Gallaudet. It was Friday morning, 72 hours before the deadline, and I had nothing. I also only had about one hour before I needed to go to work. For the first recommendation, I hurridly drove to TJC and spoke to Dr. JB. She graciously filled out the form and opened the Practicum class for me so that I could enroll.

After enrolling in the class, I went to work, arriving a little late, and called Mrs. Barnett, my ASL teacher, using the 711 relay system. That was interesting. It was my first time to talk to someone who was using a TTY. The only thing that was a little strange about it was hearing myself say “go ahead” a dozen times. It was also a funny experience, too. The relay interpreter was a man. However, when he realized I was talking to a woman, he changed his voice to sound more feminine. I tried hard not to laugh; I knew the guy was doing his best. By the end of our conversation, she happily agreed to fill out a recommendation for me.

So the next day, on Saturday, I went to Mrs. Barnett’s house for her to fill out the form. The Barnetts were so excited that I wanted to go to Gallaudet. Their love for their Alma Matter definately played a huge role in inspiring me to go to Gallaudet. While Mrs. Barnett filled out the recommendation, Mr. Barnett showed me his yearbooks from Gallaudet when he had graduated in 1964 (I think that is right). That was so neat. We visited for a few minutes and then I went back home to put everything together, tweak my papers a little, and send everything off that weekend.

With my application on its way to Gally, I just waited–untill January 30th. I got an email from Gallaudet. They invited me to go to D.C. for an interview! I was so excited! I figured that had to be a God thing because of my awful essays and the fact that only 5% of the student body at Gallaudet could be hearing. Despite all this, they still wanted me to go, so my next steps were the interview and ASLPI (American Sign Language Proficiency Interview).

I replied back to the school, telling them that I accepted their invitation, and they emailed me back soon thereafter to tell me that the interviews would be in late March. That was a relief for me because it gave me time to prepare. However, after some mixups, Gally emailed me again, and instead of a March date, scheduled my interviews for February 21st on a Wednesday–exactly two weeks away to the day.

I told all my teachers and friends about the interviews. They were all excited and encouraged me. However, I was completely freaked out. Well, it wasn’t THAT bad, but I was nervous. I felt honored to have the opportunity to go to Gallaudet University–even for a mere interview.

The saga does not end here–it continues–but that’s another story for another time.

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3 Responses to “To Go Or Not To Go…Now?”

  1. Chiara Says:

    Hi Casey!
    I was surfing in the web and I found your blog. I’m an Italian girl and I’m studying LIS (the italian for ASL)…
    I’m a university student but unfortunately in my school it’s not possible to study LIS so I’m attending an evening course. In a month I will began to write my thesy(is that right?) and I would like to write about LIS and other Sign Languages in the world, so I’m on the net searching something about it. My LIS teacher told me about Gallaudet University so I entered this site.
    I would like to ask you, if it’s not a problem, if we can stay in touch (or however begin to “talk”) so you can explain me something about the university and about the Deaf-world…
    Thank you.
    Chiara.
    p.s. I don’t know if you can e-mail me from this reply. I will look on this blog and If you can’t I will give you my e-mail.
    p.p.s Sorry for my Enlish!!

  2. gucasey Says:

    Hello, Chiara!
    Thank you so much for your response! That is great that you are learning LIS! I would love to help explain whatever I can about Gallaudet University, American Deaf culture, or ASL. I cannot email you from here, but if you will leave your email address, I will gladly keep in touch with you! Good luck with your thesis and I look forward to hearing from you soon!
    Casey

  3. Chiara Says:

    Thank you Casey!!!
    My e-mail address is gianekia@alice.it.
    Sorry if it took me long to reply but I’m working a lot so I can’t surf the net so often. I hope to hear from you soon.
    Chiara

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